01 July 2005

Think it, and it shall be so

Usually I avoid going to the two closest grocery stores so I can avoid running into people I haven't seen in ten years and the awkward "What have you been doing? What are you up to now?" conversations that ensue, but it was on the way home so we stopped. It was after 4 on the Friday preceding July 4th weekend, so there were lots of cars and business was picking up.

We split up to expedite the process. On my way to the milk, I cut down a random aisle and then backtracked a few steps to grab a box of mini Charleston Chews. After I snagged a quart of 2% milk, I looked for the whipped cream. Milk, regular cream, flavored cream, butter, yogurt, cheese, meat. I walked back again and still didn't see it. On the next wall was a small section of pudding before the freezers. Still no whipped cream. It's always been by the milk in my experience with grocery stores across the country, but not here. I walked back and forth again, and then up to the pudding section. There was an overflowing cart in front of it, and there was the whipped cream, in the well below the railing. I damned whoever chose to put it there and lifted out a can of Reddi-whip.

With all the people walking around, I figured my chances of running into someone I knew were high. No sooner had I thought it, then I looked up and saw a familiar face: a friend's little sister now grown-up. As our eyes met, she said, "hey" with recognition, and I replied in kind. We were both on the move in opposite directions, so it was a fleeting pleasant interaction. Amazingly, her name popped into my head readily; sometimes I have distinct recollections of people from high school but can't come up with their names. I saw several people who could've been in school a few years behind me, but stopped thinking about it, so I wouldn't draw them out. If one did approach, I suppose I could say, "You look great. I didn't recognize you," hoping they wouldn't assume I thought they looked bad before. The worst case would be not to recognize someone from my own class since there were only 51 of us. It's probably best to fess up right away, but I'm not sure I can pull it off with the grace to make it seem acceptable; rather, in my desire to not look like a fool, I'll likely end up looking more of one.

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